Aug 15, 2013

A Day at the Pack Burro Races in Leadville, Colorado

Raisin Bread and I just returned from a 10 day trip to Colorado and New Mexico! One of the highlights of the trip was seeing the Leadville Burro Race during the Leadville Boom Days Festival. Donkeys have always been one of my favorite animals: they are hardworking, gentle and pretty darn cute!

We drove from our hotel in Silverthorne to Leadville, an old Colorado mining town, pretty early in the morning and arrived around 9:30 am. The town was already bustling so we visited some of the local shops to pass the time before we found where the burros were being warmed up before the race.

There were so many cute burros.

Even mini ones! Those little legs can run.

Burros were munching away on grass.

There were some fuzzy burros. Look at those fuzzy legs and fuzzy head.

Gentle burros don't mind a pet on the head.

There was one burro in particular who didn't seem too happy to be at the races. 

After visiting with the burros, we walked with them to the starting line. The Leadville race is the second leg of the triple crown of burro racing. During a burro race, a human racer leads a burro by a rope along a long distance course. Humans are not allowed to ride the burro, and burros must also carry saddle packs. The Leadville race is 22-miles long and goes up Mosquito Pass before returning to the town center with the burros packing 33 pounds of traditional mining gear, including a shovel, gold pan and pick. 

The men's heat went first. Here they are lined up at the starting line. 

Then they were off! They sure can move. 

See you later, burros!

The burros were set to return in about 3.5 hours. Although we weren't planning to see them finish, there were many things a spectator could do before the grand finish.

You could admire the architecture or if you're a little one, ride a train around the main street.

Or buy some antiques. Don't you love these teddy bears for sale?

You could watch some gunslingers in a mock shoot out. 

We decided to enjoy some fair food: homemade root beer, fried pickles and a pulled pork sandwich.

There was also a variety of restaurants serving up some grub like the Golden Burro Cafe. 

I never knew the sport of pack burro racing existed prior to planning this trip, but I am glad I got to experience this Colorado tradition! 

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